Absent homeowners call on private security firms to prevent squatters

Squatting is the métier du jour. Only last month a multimillion-pound property, doors away from the home of Roman Abramovich’s ex wife, was occupied by a renegade group called the "Belgravia Squatters". Art collective the "Oubliette" recently occupied a prime real estate spot on Leicester Square, above the Odeon.

Squatting is deemed a crime on the rise. Opportunists are regularly seeking out unoccupied buildings, some worth upwards of £50m, and staking a claim using "squatter’s rights".

Enter Forbes Risk. This security company is cashing in on the squatting craze, offering a bespoke package for absentee homeowners looking to protect their investment. For the bargain price of £1,400, they will ensure that the building is locked up tight as a drum to prevent the initial "break". Forced windows, smashed doors and broken locks equate to criminal damage and negate squatter’s rights. A retainer of £2,600 per week with ensure 24-hour protection from the firm.

Andrew Walker, director of Forbes Risk, told the London Lite: "We have a lot of wealthy clients who for obvious reasons do not want squatters in their properties. Squatting, particularly in wealthier parts of London, is becoming an epidemic.

"We have ways to get these people out for our clients," he continues.

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